Ford says his government 'will not re-open the abortion debate' - 2019-05-09
Premier Doug Ford scrambled to quell controversy over his government's position on abortion after one of his MPPs told hundreds of protesters on the front lawn of the legislature Thursday that it's time to make the termination of pregnancies "unthinkable." The premier, who had ducked opposition questions on whether the views of Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff reflect the position of the Progressive Conservative government, released a statement later in the day clarifying his administration's stance.
"The Ontario PC Party is a big tent. We welcome members from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs," wrote the premier, who courted social conservatives to win the party leadership last year when he questioned why teens need parental consent notes to go on school trips but not to get abortions. "The government will not re-open the abortion debate," he added. New Democrat MPP France Gelinas raised the issue during the legislature's daily question period as the demonstrators could be heard chanting loudly outside.
"Women across Ontario have fought really hard for their reproductive rights. Conservative MPPs joined an anti-choice rally outside Queen's Park just now and they told the protesters, 'We pledged to fight to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime.' Does the premier support his MPPs?" asked Gelinas (Nickel Belt). Ford declined to answer the question, surprising legislators by referring it to Energy Minister Greg Rickford, whose portfolio has nothing to do with medical matters.